An evocative work of bleak electronic atmosphere and suffocating dread, Failing Lights is the intensely personal vision of Michigan (via Lexington, KY) artist Mike Connelly. While he has toured the world as 1/3 of legendary industrial/noise units Hair Police and Wolf Eyes, Connelly spends his days crafting a much different sound on his own. Under the Failing Lights flag, he has self-published a nearly uncountable number of cassettes and CDRs of rough drones, detuned improvised grit, blown-out burl, and unstable acoustics in tiny editions that quickly vanish into collector-land. Intransitive is proud to present the defining – and first widely available – Failing Lights statement, an album of sinewy horror with a fine-tuned beauty within its darkness.
A single piece in five sections, Failing Lights begins with disquietingly barren negative space. As the album creeps forward, it steadily dispenses sheets of diffuse throat-scratch and skittering strings, culminating in a blast of molten organ. Not noise, ambient, improv, black metal, or anything else: this is pure Failing Lights.
Praise for Failing Lights:
“Mike Connelly’s Failing Lights CD is a deep trip into darkness, density and dimension. This work is not random noise. Connelly is able to bend sound and texture at will, with a great deal of control. He sculpts huge amounts of space and intensity with a great deal of grip. Really good!” – Henry Rollins
“A masterwork of dark silences and tantalizing restraint. Failing Lights is the perfect name for (Mike Connelly’s) solo project. His sounds live in shadows, intermittently illuminated by flickering volume, then swept back into the dim recesses of his eerie atmospheres. In the process, Connelly is also a kind of gatekeeper, doling out glimpses of an elusive sonic whole. It’s a method Connelly has honed in his two main groups, Wolf Eyes and Hair Police. Both are known for brutal noise, yet are also adept at using restraint to create tension. With Failing Lights, Connelly is more focused on the latter. Parts of Failing Lights… sound like the negative image of his bands, with noise flipped into quiet and echoes reversed into jolts. Bells chime and decay; rumbles evoke underwater transmissions; electronic slashes crackle like bugs hitting zappers. There are some stretches of dense cacophony, but even those feel shrouded and blurry.” – Marc Masters, Pitchfork.com
“… the sonic equivalent of thumbing through the grimy pages of a shredded horror comic, or viewing the static debris from a bootlegged 1970s slasher video on a malfunctioning machine. Through the stifled, wind chime accompanied opening of Moon on the First Hunt, we are led into the beating heart of Connelly’s mad sound laboratory, a creaking spook house of badly wired electronic shocks that intermittently sparks into action. On Serve in Silence, strange string alterations… add to the overall atmosphere that Connelly has been steadily building up. This ingeniously culminates on the CDs finale… where after a prelude of scattered guitar dissonance and diffused electronic vocal scorch, the slow swell of an organ drone materializes like a suffocating black cloud, menacingly hanging in the air…” - Edwin Pouncey, The Wire
“Never before has the solo force of Mike Connelly been so clearly on display. Failing Lights is a dark necessity, an important document from one of underground music’s most important figures.”
– Steve Lowenthal, Swingset Magazine
“The greatest strength of this disc is how it showcases Mike Connelly’s ability to craft slow building, menacing audio dramas that are not really apt to terrorize, but instead lead to a subtle, disquieting tension that is compelling from beginning to end.” – Brainwashed.com
“Great textured music that has nothing to do with noise, except maybe for the somewhat raw and intense quality of the sounds used. Each of the five pieces have a distinct character of its own, using a variety of instruments and ideas, some more drone like in approach, others being more cut up… This is a release that is made with some intelligence with respect to composing elements from noise music, but then entirely in a non-noise way. Great! Highly recommended this one if you want to broaden your interests in noise. ” – Vital Weekly
“With the first full-length CD of Failing Lights, Mike Connelly melds his diverse and obscure personal musical interests into one inspirational album. Patience. Minimalism. Refinement. Restraint. Filthy dirty home recording, executed with the cutting skill of a sound-art composer and the heart of folk music. An amazing album, by far his best!”
– Dominick Fernow, Prurient / Hospital Productions